Follow along! The episode guide for “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” is in Finding Lost — Season 5, pp. 99-115.
You know, I was just thinking the other day that S4 had its standout episodes – “The Constant” and “The Shape of Things to Come” (and of course the finale) were real game-changers for the show. In a great season, these episodes stood out. But in S5, the entire season was outstanding, and I couldn’t really pull out any that particularly blew my socks off, probably because every episode did. Entertainment Weekly recently named this episode one of the best hours of television in 2009, and maybe if I had to choose one, this might be it. It’s filled with inconsistencies, many of which I point out in my book (Locke dies here but his body isn’t seen by Jack for another month, yet it didn’t decompose… I’m hoping that’ll be explained and it’s not actually an inconsistency; Hurley’s mental institution is CALLED Santa Rosa, but it’s not IN Santa Rosa; Locke never says the things to Jack that Jack will later tell Ben he said; Locke never insists on being called Jeremy Bentham, etc.) But even with all of these inconsistencies, the scene of Locke standing on that table with the cord around his neck gets to me every time, especially now on the heels of our rewatch. We’ve watched in just a few short months the entirety of a man’s life, and for him to stand there after everything he’s been through and say, “I’m a failure” breaks my heart every time. I think it’s a crime that Terry O’Quinn wasn’t nominated for the Emmy for this scene alone. He is so brilliant.
Fun things I noticed:
• Ilana tells Locke that Lapidus and Sun took off in the middle of the night… but they didn’t. We’ll later see them leave in broad daylight.
• Widmore is as awesome a liar as Ben is; he tells Locke that for three decades they protected the island “peacefully” and yet we know they slaughtered the soldiers in 1954, and their truce with the DI in the 70s wasn’t exactly “peaceful.”
• I love Kate, I really, really do, but GOD she’s so self-important and annoying in the scene with John Locke. It’s the only time in the entire series where I really don’t like her at all.
• The scene of John in the cemetery. At that moment, I thought to myself that more than anything, I want that to be a lie. I want Helen to be alive, I want the real John Locke to somehow resurrect, and I want them to be reunited.
• In my book I have photos I got from this guy who lived in the apartment building adjacent to the intersection where they staged the big car crash with Locke, and he sat in his window and took pics of them doing the scene. Could you IMAGINE looking out your window and seeing that?
• OK, not just Terry O’Quinn deserves an Emmy for this episode, but Matthew Fox (again). His acting in the scene where he comes face-to-face with Locke once again is BRILLIANT. He’s clearly high, hanging on by a thread, on the verge of a nervous breakdown yet desperately trying to hold it together. What a scene.
Things that have new meaning:
• The writers have said the Oceanic 6 were off the island in January 2005, and were gone for 3 years. But when Sun and Lapidus and Ben landed on the island, they’re apparently in 2007, according to the same writers. Does that mean they actually time-travelled backwards, too (which would make sense, since we’ll later see they land in the day even though it’s nighttime in the sky) or was it just a rough estimate of 3 years, when in fact it was actually close to three years and was actually November 2007 or something when they decided to return?
• From this point on, we have to watch John Locke on the island as the Man in Black, which is such a strange thing to do.
• Take a look at the scene where Ben pleads with Locke to come down. Locke is holding his hands out to his sides, and Ben is on his knees in front of him. Locke is set up as a Christ figure, one who must die to save our sins....